Coronavirus Update #217
COVID Vaccines Administered to Maryland LTC Residents and Staff,
Amended Guidance for Point of Care Testing
Today as skilled nursing and rehabilitation center residents, patients and staff receive the first COVID vaccines in Maryland, Governor Hogan held his vaccination press conference at Genesis Franklin Woods. We can’t thank Governor Hogan enough for his kind words for our frontline healthcare heroes today, his leadership this year, or for his leadership in prioritizing those most in need of COVID vaccination here in Maryland.
Today is so important because we are actually getting the COVID-19 vaccine to nursing home residents, patients and staff -- Marylanders who are most in need and most at risk.  It will take time for everyone to receive the vaccine and this is just the first step. We should all appreciate this new dawn and know that together, we will get through this.
I want to offer very special thanks to Tim Davis, Brian Klausmeyer, Lori Mayer, Dawn Melanson, and clinical director JoAnne Reifsnyder at Genesis.  As well as a special shout out to Craig Clarke the CVS Pharmacy Regional Director, and to his crew. Onward together!
This has been an incredibly challenging year and the path forward will remain challenging. Now is not the time to let down our guard. We must remain vigilant to protect our most vulnerable. Still, today is to be celebrated as the vaccine is administered to residents and staff at Franklin Woods, and nursing homes across Maryland and the nation.

Be well,
Joe DeMattos
President and CEO
MDH Amended Guidance for Point of Care Testing

On December 22, 2020, MDH issued amended guidance for Point of Care Testing. This Amended Guidance updates and replaces all previous guidance and correspondence on SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) point of care (POC) tests. The guidance:

  • Provides updates on POC testing due to updated guidance from CDC, FDA, CMS

  • Expands the use of antigen POC tests on asymptomatic individuals outside of the test’s authorization per CMS/FDA guidance 
AHCA/NCAL #GetVaccinated Toolkit

Last week, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), launched a campaign to encourage long term care residents and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Branded collateral and informational materials have been shared with AHCA/NCAL members across the country. Using the hashtag #GetVaccinated, this campaign also seeks to raise awareness online, especially among family members of long term care residents. By encouraging their loved ones to get vaccinated, family members can play an important role in the effort to eradicate the virus from long term care settings.

AHCA/NCAL has also developed a new #GetVaccinated infection control flyer that is available here and posted on the AHCA/NCAL #GetVaccinated webpage. It is available in both English and Spanish and would be a good handout to distribute to staff at vaccination clinics.
Additionally, if you have any success stories or best practices in promoting vaccine uptake, please feel free to Abigail Barreto at ACHA/NCAL.
To view all the materials please visit
REMINDER: Abbott NAVICA App Registration
All facilities that are using Abbott BinaxNOW must register themselves with Abbott and the Navica App.
When the app goes live with being able to connect with State reporting, there will likely be an influx of registrations. Therefore, It is highly recommended for facilities currently using the BinaxNow to register ASAP.
Other COVID-19 Updates

Important: OSHA Releases Resource for Understanding Compliance with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard: OSHA has released a new resource to help employers understand compliance with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

HHS ASPR Implements SPEED to Assist in Allocation of Monoclonal Antibodies: HHS ASPR implemented a federal program called Special Projects for Equitable and Efficient Distribution (SPEED) for the allocation of the COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Read More
Reminder - 2020 MD THINK LTC E&E Survey
You still have time to help the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) improve the LTC E&E system by taking an Adoption and Usage Survey at The survey will only take about 5 minutes. Your feedback is critical, so MDH asks that you respond by Wednesday, December 30, 2020.   
The survey is anonymous, results will be shared with you at a later date.
Upcoming Webinar: Community Discussion on COVID-19 Vaccines

Join a community discussion on the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines on Jan. 7 from 6-7:30 p.m. Hosted by the Horizon Foundation, the Howard County Health Department and Howard County General Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. See the flyer here with more information.
Date: Jan. 7, 2021
Time: 6-7:30 pm
Cost: No cost, free to everyone
Did you miss HFAM's previous alerts?

Visit our website to view all previous HFAM alerts, as well as guidance
from our federal and state partners.
Thank you.

We cannot thank you enough for the dedication and diligence in doing all that you can for the residents in your communities. HFAM continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic with our state and national partners and will do all we can to support you during this time.